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Chicago Film Archives

Chicago Film Archives is a regional film archive dedicated to collecting, preserving and providing access to films that represent the Midwest. CFA incorporated in late 2003 in order to preserve and catalogue over five thousand 16mm films donated by the Chicago Public Library. Since then, CFA's collection has expanded to over fourteen thousand films of various genres and forms.

In addition to collecting films by commercial, experimental and documentary filmmakers, CFA is particularly interested in home movies and other amateur work. We believe these one-of-a-kind films provide a valuable historical record of everyday life in the Midwest that needs to be cared for and handed down to future generations.

CFA is delighted to share a sampling of some of the rare or unique films found within our vault. Be sure to come back and visit CFA's channel, as we'll be adding more films in the upcoming days, weeks and months.

FURTHER INFO: To learn more about CFA and its collections, visit our website at http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org

STOCK FOOTAGE: To license these films for broadcast or film production purposes, please contact Chicago Film Archives for rates and procedures.

STUDENT USE: Chicago Film Archives will provide assistance with footage to students enrolled in a high school or university program. Please contact Chicago Film Archives for further information regarding this service.

DONATE YOUR FILMS: If you have any films you think would fit into the Chicago Film Archives mission, please contact us at (312) 243-1808 or at info@chicagofilmarchives.org. Each film in our vault will be inspected, repaired, placed in archival containers and catalogued so as to guarantee its survival and accessibility.

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Title
Date Archived
Creator
Chicago Film Archives
by Unknown
movies
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Here is a 16mm. home movie of Chicago's 1933 World's Fair in all its troubled splendor. It comes from our David Gray Collection, which includes other footage of Chicago from the 1930s through 1960s. Highlights of this reel include an animatronic tyrannosaurus rex, a strange looking Radio Flyer sculpture and a building titled "Infant Incubators - with living babies."
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago, Chicago World's Fair, 1930s, Century of Progress
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 2,906
favorite 4
comment 2
From Chicago Film Archives' Jack Behrend Collection, 1984, 16mm. Footage of a combat zone, the landscape barren and repeatedly torn apart by explosions. Includes various army vehicles in action, with tanks and fighter jets discharging their weapons. There are numerous takes, with some footage repeating. The filmmaker and particulars behind this film are unknown.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Topics: War, 1980s
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 2,471
favorite 1
comment 0
Kodachrome Home Movie footage of Riverview Amusement Park, a Chicago amusement park once located near the intersection of Belmont and Western Avenues. From our Henry Wilczynski Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago, amuseument parks
Chicago Film Archives
by Sylvia Davis
movies
eye 2,008
favorite 3
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An episode of a syndicated wrestling show shot at Chicago's International Amphitheater in the early to mid 1950s. Shot live on film with three-camera coverage, it features a witty and entertaining narration from announcer Russ Davis. This one-fall match features "The world's ugliest woman" Yulie Brynner (bald headed like Yul) versus Rose Roman. Yulie wins the match with a flying mare off the ropes into a bodypress. From our Sylvia & Russ Davis Collection. Chicago Film Archives...
Topics: Chicago, Wrestling
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 1,858
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Home movie footage of the grotto construction at the Los Angeles, California Playboy mansion. The film includes shots of Hugh Hefner, Barbi Benton as well as footage of the estate. Rhodes Patterson, who was friends of the grotto's architects and engineers, shot the film. In 1971 Playboy hired the Dirsmith Group (of Highland Park, Illinois) to design and construct the now-world-famous Grotto and swimming pool on the grounds of Playboy West. Ronald and Suzanne Dirsmith invited Rhodes to go out...
Topics: Home Movies, Playboy
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 1,606
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A 16mm. sponsored film that looks back at the first ten years of the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA). Walter Paepcke (1896–1960) founded the IDCA. He sought to provide a forum for discussion on design, “where the human spirit can flourish.” Paepcke was a longtime executive of the Chicago-based Container Corporation of America, and with help from his wife Elizabeth, was instrumental in creating the New Bauhaus in Chicago and developing Aspen, Colorado, into a winter resort...
Topics: Design, International Design Conference in Aspen
Chicago Film Archives
by Morton Goldsholl Associates
movies
eye 1,309
favorite 2
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A sponsored film made by Morton Goldsholl Associates for Pabst Brewing Company. Morton & Millie Goldsholl ran Morton Goldsholl Associates, one of Chicago's leading graphic design studios in the 1950s. The studio became recognized for their animations, progressive hiring practices and developing corporate branding packages for various companies. From our Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection.
favoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: Chicago, Design, Sponsored Films, 1960s
Chicago Film Archives
by Australian National Travel Association
movies
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Extended footage of koalas in their habitat as the song "Teddy Bear Picnic" plays. Sponsored by the Australian National Travel Association. Found within CFA's Margaret Conneely Collection
Topics: Animals, Tourism
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 970
favorite 4
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A Republic Steel sponsored film made in 1960 by Chicago's Wilding Studios. This 16mm. technicolor film was found inside a container that was labeled 'Iran' from the Chicago Public Library Collection. Quite a find!
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: Chicago, Steel Industry, Industry, Sponsored Films, 1960s
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 963
favorite 3
comment 0
Home movie footage from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. From our Ferd Isserman Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns copyrights to all films in the Ferd Isserman Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago, Chicago World's Fair, 1930s, Century of Progress
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 922
favorite 2
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A film that celebrates the work of John Ott while documenting the different uses of stop-motion photography- from cancer research to the effects of fertilizer on bean sprouts. In the film we see John Ott hard at work in his Chicago suburban home. Found in Chicago Film Archives' Margaret Conneely Collection.
Topics: Chicago, Photography, Plants, Flowers
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 909
favorite 2
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Home movie footage of a 1938 Mae West performance at Chicago's Palace Theater (now known as the Cadillac Palace). From our Rhodes Patterson Collection. Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films created by Rhodes Patterson.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago
Chicago Film Archives
by Harry Mantel
movies
eye 899
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A short film made by Harry Mantel that documents the air traffic control tower at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Harry Mantel (1923-2007) was a Chicago cameraman, producer, and journalist. This title is part of Mantel's series titled "Vignettes," which was funded in part by Encyclopedia Britannica for television broadcast. From our Harry Mantel Collection.
Topics: Chicago, Airports, Transportation, 1970s
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 860
favorite 3
comment 1
A 1960s sponsored film that highlights Chicago's water system as one of "the seven wonders of Modern American engineering." It includes scenes of Chicago's lake front, skyline and water facilities. Made by Cine-Graff Production for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). From our Rhodes Patterson Collection.
favoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: Chicago, Water, Sponsored Films, 1960s
Chicago Film Archives
by Margaret Conneely
movies
eye 796
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Restored to its original glory by the National Film Preservation Foundation back in 2005, this little Christmas film is one of our holiday favorites. Margaret Conneely (Chicago amateur filmmaker & CFA Collection namesake) frames stop-motion animation and trick photography with live action footage to fuel her very own Christmas fairy tale. FAIRY PRINCESS (1956) was Margaret Conneely's most successful amateur film, winning a slew of local awards, and being named one of the Photographic...
Topics: Amateur Films, Christmas
Chicago Film Archives
by Unknown
movies
eye 770
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This educational film documents the "Wheels-a-Rolling" pageant of the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948 and 1949. Sponsored by some 38 railroad companies along with suppliers such as The Budd Company and The Pullman Company, the fair drew thousands to its Lake Michigan shoreline location for a celebration of "100 years of railroad progress." The lengthy "Wheels-a-Rolling" pageant, written by railroad historian and visionary Edward Hungerford, presented an overview of...
Topics: Chicago, Railroads, Transportation, Historical Reenactments
Chicago Film Archives
movies
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Promotional film for Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine made circa 1955 by John A. Maurer, and assisted directed by Margaret Conneely. Narrator William B. Rich, M.D. takes the viewer on a tour of what student life is like, providing facts about the school over footage of the application process, student facilities, observation and hands on experience in the operating room. bedside learning, and graduation. There is an emphasis on doctor and patient communication and sensitivity when...
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: Chicago, Universities & colleges, Medicine, Sponsored
Chicago Film Archives
by Margaret Conneely
movies
eye 634
favorite 6
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A "city symphony" film, produced to encourage Photographic Society of America members to attend their 1963 conference in Chicago. The film edits together beautiful and dynamic footage of Chicago and then combines this with a deadpan commentary that pokes fun at commercial travel films: "Chicago is my town," the narrator says wryly, "and no other town will do." Margaret Conneely was awarded a special prize by the Photographic Society of America for this film. From...
Topics: Amateur Films, Chicago
Chicago Film Archives
by James Charles Soucie
movies
eye 634
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8mm. home movie footage of the 1955 General Motors Powerama that was held on Chicago's lakefront, just south of Soldier Field. It lasted 26 days, cost $7-million dollars and featured 250 free exhibits. From our James C. Soucie Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns copyrights to all films in the James C. Soucie Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 618
favorite 1
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This 1950s amateur film (presumably made by Chicago amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely) stars an unenthused housewife and a dry narration track. Combined, they show us how to make a wide array of homemade ornaments, centerpieces, wreaths and more! From our Margaret Conneely Collection. Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films created by Margaret Conneely.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Topics: Amateur films, Christmas, House wives, 1950s
Chicago Film Archives
by Peter Kuttner
movies
eye 617
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16mm., B&W, Sound (from Chicago Film Archive's Peter Kuttner Collection) A documentary exploring political apathy among white college students at Northwestern University during the civil rights movement. The film contrasts traditional college activities (football games, hanging out, attending classes) with political activism (marching, speeches by Martin Luther King, getting arrested and police brutality, and racist violence). The film uses time lapse, slow-motion, and still frames to both...
Topics: Chicago, Universities & colleges, 1960s, Students, Civil rights
Chicago Film Archives
by Jack Behrend
movies
eye 553
favorite 2
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Continuous time-lapse sequence of Chicago's Equitable Building (401 North Michigan Avenue) being constructed. It was shot by Jack Behrend from a penthouse at 333 N. Michigan. From our Jack Behrend Collection
Topics: Chicago, Architecture
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 550
favorite 4
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16mm. home movie footage of the 1969 Apollo 11 parade in Chicago, Illinois shot from various vantage points. The City of Chicago welcomed the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr., who are all seen briefly within the film. The majority of the film consists of crowd and street footage. From our Rhodes Patterson Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns copyrights to all films created by Rhodes Patterson.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago, Parades
Chicago Film Archives
by Morton Goldsholl Associates
movies
eye 534
favorite 3
comment 1
Promotional film for a series of books published by Paper Division of Champion Papers Inc., describing how images in film are graphically translated and vibrantly reproduced on their paper. This particular book and film, Imagination 10, showcases the beauty and design of trains and attempts to capture the experience of traveling by train, describing the landscapes and city lights blurring by like moving paintings. A variety of trains are shown from every possible angle and exterior detail, with...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: Chicago, Railroads, Transportation, Sponsored Films, Advertsing, 1960s
Chicago Film Archives
by Karl Berolzheimer
movies
eye 523
favorite 3
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Home Movie footage of Chicagoâs Maxwell Street Market shot in the 1970s. From Chicago Film Archives' Glick-Berolzheimer Home Movie Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, Chicago, Maxwell Street Market, 1970s
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 491
favorite 1
comment 0
16mm. home movie featuring the Bahai Temple of Wilmette, Illinois circa 1953. From our Henry Wilczynski Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, 1950s, Chicago, Temples
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 488
favorite 3
comment 0
Rhodes Patterson (1914-2003) shot this silent short film at Chicago's Grant Park a day after the 1968 Democratic National Convention. While it doesn't depict any violence, the film captures the mood and tensions of the time, as well as a few instances of the "male gaze." From our Rhodes Patterson Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns copyrights to all films created by Rhodes Patterson.
Topics: Chicago, 1968 Democratic Convention
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 464
favorite 1
comment 0
An 8mm. home movie of a Chicago bike club's train trip to Beloit, Wisconsin. A sign within the film reads "League of American Wheelmen: Cycle Train Excursion." This league, which was founded in 1880, is now known as the League of American Bicyclists. From our Phillip Smith Collection. Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films in the Phillip Smith Collection.
Topics: Home Movies, Wisconsin, Railroads, Cycling, Transportation, 1940s
Chicago Film Archives
by Susan Stechnij
movies
eye 461
favorite 2
comment 0
Mi Raza is a documentary film about a working class Mexican-American family living in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago during the early 1970s. Three generations of the Navarro family respond differently to the pressures of assimilation and acculturation, dealing with the stresses of maintaining their cultural heritage in the face of the dominant Anglo society. Along with the charged relations with the outside world, the film captures the personal details of the Navarro family life, bringing...
Topics: Chicago, Pilsen (Chicago, Ill.), Mexican-Americans
Chicago Film Archives
by Margaret Conneely
movies
eye 436
favorite 1
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A domestic black comedy, MISTER E (1950s) expresses some of the edgier mischief and discontent that women of the 1950s could rarely express openly. This short film narrates the revenge acted out by a young wife, left at home while her husband is at a card game; by staging a rendezvous with a mannequin, this woman provokes an eruption of jealousy and violence before bringing about the desired marital tenderness. From our Margaret Conneely Collection. Margaret Conneely, an award winning and...
Topics: Amateur Films, 1950s, House Wives
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 424
favorite 1
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A home movie documenting Judith Ford's (Miss Illinois 1968) visit to the Container Corporation of America, located in the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream. Judith Ford went onto win the Miss America pageant in 1969. The film was shot by Rhodes Patterson, an employee of the Container Corporation. From our Rhodes Patterson Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns copyrights to all films created by Rhodes Patterson.
Topics: Home Movies, Illinois
Chicago Film Archives
by Fritz
movies
eye 381
favorite 4
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16mm. home movie of a trailer trip vacation through South Dakota and Wyoming with footage of historic sites in national parks. Footage includes scenes of the Badlands of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park sites like Yellowstone River, Mammoth Hot Springs, Inspiration Point, Apollinaris Springs, erupting Old Faithful and bears interacting with tourists. Opening title cards read "Fritz's Photologue of a ten month's trailer trip-through the U.S. and Mexico." From...
Topics: Home Movies, Travelogue, Tourism, National Parks & Reserves, 1940s
Chicago Film Archives
by Quaker Oats Company
movies
eye 304
favorite 1
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A 16mm. Quaker Oats corporate film from 1928! From our William O'Farrell Collection.
Topics: Chicago, Wisconsin, Agriculture, Industry, Sponsored Films
Chicago Film Archives
by Morton Goldsholl Associates
movies
eye 294
favorite 1
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Dedicated to the men, women and children of Mars, this fantastical animation uses the simplest of elements: solid backgrounds, block letters, and a length of metal chain. The creatures created are the kind of strange and other-worldly beings that thrive only in children's dreams and play. This is yet another astonishing product from the creative geniuses at Morton Goldsholl Associates. From our Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection.
Topics: Animation, Children's films
Chicago Film Archives
movies
eye 283
favorite 3
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A small family takes a road trip across Illinois, visiting Galena, the bank of the Rock River, Jubilee College, Dixon Mounds, New Salem, Springfield, Pere Marquette State Park, the land once known as Kaskaskia, Vandailia and Starved Rock State Park. Made by Wilding Studios for Illinois Bell. From our Chicago Public Library Collection.
Topics: Illinois, Travel, Sponsored Films
Chicago Film Archives
by Morton Goldsholl Associates
movies
eye 251
favorite 1
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A sponsored film made by Millie Goldsholl (of Chicago's Morton Goldsholl Associates) for Karolton Envelope Company, a division of Kimberly-Clark. Morton & Millie Goldsholl ran Morton Goldsholl Associates, one of Chicago's leading graphic design studios in the 1950s. The studio became recognized for their animations, progressive hiring practices and developing corporate branding packages for various companies. From our Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection.
Topics: Chicago, Design, Sponsored Films, Animation
Chicago Film Archives
by May Pietz
movies
eye 218
favorite 0
comment 0
From Chicago Film Archives' Jack Behrend Collection, Film by May Pietz A short film that documents a Niles Township High School (Niles, Illinois) filmmaking class. Includes scenes of animation exercises, learning to use a light meter, and acting.
Topics: filmmaking, 1970s, students
Chicago Film Archives
by John Sanner
movies
eye 216
favorite 0
comment 0
An amateur documentary film shot on Super 8mm. about the arrival of a Vietnamese family to Deerfield by way of a refuge camp in Hong Kong. The Zion Lutheran Church of Deerfield sponsored the family's arrival. The filmmaker John Sanner was a member of this church, as well as a member of the local amateur film club Metro Movie Club during its later years (approximately 1972-1987). From our John Sanner Collection (NOT the Ron Doerring Collection)
Topics: Chicago, Emmigration & Immigration, Documentary
Chicago Film Archives
by Rhodes Patterson
movies
eye 171
favorite 1
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Here's a hypnotic look at Hans Graff (1921-1990) hard at work in his Chicago near-north studio, Cine-Graff Motion Picture Service. Hans was a film editor and producer, who specialized in industrial films (he even worked as an editor on "Zoo Parade" and "Wild Kingdom"!). He also had a bit of an accidental acting career - starring in commercials for Mueslix cereal, Usinger sausage, Stroh's beer, and Sprint. From our Rhodes Patterson Collection. Chicago Film Archives owns...
Topic: filmmaking